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March 1st, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Jonathan Chapman on Mountain Biking

Can a photographer promote video work by showing still images? In PDN‘s feature story about Jonathan Chapman’s direct mail promos, “All the New Work that’s Fit to Print,” the Minneapolis-based photographer and director explains that his new large-format newsprint mailer shows multiple images from assignments and personal projects, whether he shot them as stills or video. For example, he shows stills of bikers, created as part of a video assignment for Specialized, the bike manufacturer. His “Jonathan Chapman Photography/Motion” logo appears on the sun-kissed images, while the URL points readers to find his motion reel on his Web site. His videos like this one for Specialized can also be found on Vimeo.

February 23rd, 2012

PDN Video Pick: New Documentary Shows Gregory Crewdson at Work

Photographer Gregory Crewdson, who is famous for his cinematic depictions small-town American life, is the subject of a new documentary that will premiere  March 10 at the SXSW music and film festival in Austin, Texas. Directed by Ben Shapiro, the film is called “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters.” It takes viewers behind the scenes of the elaborate productions of some of his best known images, and if this trailer is any indication, the film shows what a regular guy he is–knocking over lamps, waking up sick with worry that things might go wrong–in his search for the perfect moment.

February 17th, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Iceland’s Water

Vatn (English) from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

Photographer and filmmaker Enrique Pacheco‘s most recent short film, “Vatn” (the Icelandic word for water), offers stunning views of Iceland’s oceans, rivers and waterfalls, made with the Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 600D, and Canon and Carl Zeiss glass.

Shot and edited over a 6-month period, the film employs an interesting narrative structure that personifies water and makes it the film’s protagonist. “Human beings are the antagonists,” Pacheco said of the film, in an interview published on his Web site. “We are changing the life cycle of water. This film is for water conservation. Instead of talking about water, I decided to personify water, give it voice, so we can hear it.”

Related: PDN Video Pick: Winter In Hell

February 15th, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Roger Ballen’s Music Video for Die Antwoord

Roger Ballen, known for his dark, unsettling photography, has brought his esthetic to the “I Fink U Freeky” video he recently directed for the South African hip-hop band Die Antwoord. The result, which has been widely circulated via social media, is a creepy but visually compelling freak show. Ballen recently explained to Phaidon that he shot photographs for the band about three years ago. They asked him to shoot a music video, which he was happy to do. “We started with my photographs for ideas and then mimicked them in the sets. Most of the sets started with almost like a ‘Roger Ballen still life’ and then we might have added in a mouth or foot or hand and then we went into them cinematically,” he told Phaidon.

January 24th, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Moby Writes a Song

This video by NPR was honored in the video category of the 2011 PDN Photo Annual. NPR Music’s Project Song challenges musicians to write and record a song in
just two days, then records the results. David Gilkey, John Poole, Bob Boilen and Neil Tevault produced the video.

Moby and collaborator Kelli Scarr finished writing their song so quickly, they wound up recording three different versions of “Gone to Sleep.”
The 2012 PDN Photo Annual is now accepting entries in 12 categories, including video, web sites, photo books, advertising, photojournalism and more.  To learn about prizes, the panel of judges, rules, deadlines (avoid the late fee and enter soon!) or to upload your entries, visit www.pdnphotoannual.com.

January 18th, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Corey Rich Demos the Nikon D4


Nikon handed photographer and video maker Corey Rich a prototype of the new Nikon D4 and assigned him to create a short feature that would demonstrate the DSLR’s full 1080p HD video capabilities, before the camera goes on sale in February. With no restrictions on what he could shoot, Rich decided to focus on action sports. His seven-and-half minute video, titled “Why,” footage of kayakers and mountain bikers in action, as well as interviews with some action sports fanatics. Rich says the sweeping helicopter footage is thanks to Michael Hagadorn, a pilot who fashioned a special rig for the camera. (You can see Rich’s acknowledgements and a full list of crew members on Vimeo.)

To read PDN’s report on the Nikon D4, see our preliminary hands-on review and our coverage of hot cameras from the CES/PMA 2012 trade show last week.

CES/PMA 2012: Hands On with the New 16.2MP Full-Frame Nikon D4 Professional DSLR

The Hottest Cameras of CES 2012

December 21st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Jerry Ghionis’s WPPI Speaker Video

This year, organizers for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Convention and Trade Show invited their headlining speakers and renowned industry leaders to express what WPPI means to them. They got a lot of great videos in response to the request, but one of our favorites was done by Melbourne, Australia-based Jerry Ghionis. Inspired by the recent Old Spice commercials, check it out to find out what WPPI means to him.

November 30th, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Marco Grob’s Afghanistan Portraits

If you’ve read PDN‘s story on Marco Grob’s techniques for lighting and shooting portraits fast (see “How I Got That Shot: The 3-Minute Portrait” in our December issue) you may be curious to see Grob in action. This video shows Grob using his portable lighting set up and handheld Hassie to photograph survivors of landmines in Afghanistan.

Grob traveled to Afghanistan in February to document the work of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA). More than one million people in Afghanistan have been injured or affected by landmines and other unexploded ordinances left from decades of conflict. Grob documented the work MACCA and UNMAS are doing to clear the Afghan countryside of landmines and to educate the public about the risks these devices pose. Grob talked about his portraits with the UN News Center.

November 7th, 2011

PDN Video Pick: That Thing Starlings Do

This video capturing the phenomenon known as murmuration — the astonishing cloud-like formations made by starlings– has been posted widely, but we can’t resist. Filmmaker and artist Sophie Windsor Clive was canoeing on the River Shannon in Ireland with a friend when they encountered the starling flock by chance.  The sight captured here on video reminds me of still images of starlings, like photographer Richard Barnes’ “Murmur” series, which he captured in Rome, and images posted recently on the Time Light Box blog.
Murmuration is a sign of approaching winter.  In commemoration of turning our clocks back, we thought we’d share this beautiful omen of the change in seasons.
October 14th, 2011

Photog’s Motion Project Built Using 48 DSLR Cameras Firing Simultaneously

With the help of a grant, 48 interconnected DSLR cameras, and some long hours of editing, Ryan Enn Hughes produced a pair of videos that combine thousands of still photographs into a 360-degree look at ballet and “Krump” dancers. Check out the results and the behind-the-scenes production video below. We corresponded with Hughes via email to find out a bit more about the project, and how and why it was made.

PDN: What interested you in creating these 360-degree videos?

Ryan Enn Hughes: The 360 Project stems from a proposal I wrote and received for a Chalmers Arts Fellowship—a funding body in Canada that supports extraordinary research and creation projects in the Arts. My proposal was to “explore the structural elements of the moving image,” which is in its essence the still photograph. My background is in Film Production/Cinematography —it wasn’t until late in University that I immersed myself in Photography. Over the last few years, more than ever, Motion Pictures and Photography have started to cross-pollinate—digital capture, digital software, and digital presentation methods in both media make the integration of the two fields seamless. Coming from a film background, I’ve always had a desire to push the still image further. The 360 Project is where I ended up.

Working with dancers is something I’ve been doing for a few years now (RGB Move, Ballet!, C-Walk, etc). I’ve always been taken by the concept of capturing a “peak moment of action,” and dance really lends itself to that concept. The way I view the project is like this: it is constructed of still photographs that when assembled like a flip-book create a motion picture, which end up resembling a type of rotating digital statue, which we in turn edited together.

PDN: Can you give me a rundown of the equipment you used?

REH: The gear used was 48 Nikon D700′s, 4 Broncolor Pulso G 3200J Lamp Heads, 4 Scoro A4S Packs.

PDN: How long did you spend editing the project?

REH: Post-production was a very big undertaking. There were several steps necessary to get to the end product. Before we could get into any actual editing, each frame in every 48-frame set had to be Photoshopped—painting out all the cameras that were visible in the original captures was a time consuming process, but enabled us to have greater control over the images. The editing process and sound design (Zelig Sound) was undertaken at the same time—it was a back and forth process exploring various editing techniques and sound design elements. Fortunately this project was not on a hard deadline, and our timeline was designed to allow our team to explore creative options.

PDN: In applying for the grant, what was your pitch in terms of the value of the project as a technical and creative innovation?

REH: I suppose the biggest factor in pitching this project was its interdisciplinary approach—the fact that it combined ideas, tools and methodologies from a variety of media. Another exciting factor was that what I proposed wasn’t a normal method of production—the gear, software, and know-how to create a project like this hasn’t been overly accessible in the past for arts based projects—it has certainly been around, but the availability, particularly the software to handle this type of project, I feel is new to a broader group of creatives.

PDN: Now that you’ve completed a pair of these projects, how do you imagine using this experience and this style of production in the future?

REH: This has definitely been the most technically challenging project I’ve undertaken to date. It’s definitely set a new bar for me personally in terms of where I want to take my work—both technically and creatively. I’m very interested in pushing the editing style used in “Krump 360″ and “Ballet 360″ further—making edits more complex, faster, and integrated with sound. I’m very interested in taking this style of production and applying it to Music Videos and Commercial Work.

KRUMP 360 (The 360 Project) from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

BALLET 360 (The 360 Project) from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

The 360 Project – Behind the Scenes from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.